Prestbury: Veggies, indigenous plants growing from once-festering mess

2008-08-20 00:00

MANY people are passionate about keeping Pietermaritzburg clean, but not many can turn a dump into a garden.

That is exactly what Msunduzi Municipality worker Khetha Ngema has done. He has transformed a dumpsite into a beautiful garden.

Located just outside the Msunduzi Municipality Prestbury Garden refuse site, the dump was described by those who knew it as an eyesore and a festering mess frequented by vagrants.

Now, a year later, it is adorned with a bird-bath, fresh veggies and indigenous plants.

“I guess I just saw an opportunity,” said Ngema.

“We are always struggling for food, so I asked if I could use that space to plant a garden and that’s what I did. I get compost from the refuse site and water from the river. The residents have also been helpful with their encouragement. They lend me their watering cans and they want to buy from me once the garden is up and running.”

According to Ngema, a resident of Napierville, his little garden has yielded a healthy crop of spinach and potatoes — enough to divide between three families.

Ngema plans to ask for more land on the refuse site so that he can start a bigger garden and involve more of his colleagues.

This it is not the first time the area has made news.

Residents stirred similar media interest last year when they took on the mammoth task of adopting and keeping the Dorpspruit River clean.

Today, not only does the litter-controlled river complement the scenic view of the Botanical Gardens it runs through, but the area has also been rid of invasive alien vegetation, which was replaced with indigenous plants by the Dorpspruit River and Community Regeneration project.

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